A PUBLIC meeting is due to take place to discuss plans to build new homes on a field on the outskirts of a village.

More than 100 people have signed a petition objecting to the scheme, which has been proposed for land next to Castlefields in Esh Winning.

The application has been submitted on behalf of Barry, Billy and Gillian Finley, who want to build 66 houses on a 2.4 hectare field which is currently used as grazing land.

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Objectors say the field, which is bordered by Castlefields and South Terrace, is used as a play area and picnic spot during the summer and attracts a range of wildlife, including bats, rabbits and deer.

They are also concerned about the impact of the development on amenities in the village, including parking, GP services and school places.

The meeting has been called by Esh Winning Residents’ Association to discuss the proposals.

A spokesman said: “We just don’t see why it should go ahead. It’s an area of natural beauty with walks down to the Deerness and abundant wildlife.

“Residents are up in arms that they could lose an open space that’s used by people.

“The village has seen several developments over the last few years to create affordable housing and the village infrastructure hasn’t changed. This is a speculative development on a green field site when there are brown field sites still available.”

He added: “Parking in the village is already horrendous. The increase in people is going to cause a bigger problem than the one that’s already existing

The applicants say they want to build a high quality housing development, which would be a natural extension to the existing built up area.

Final details of the scheme are yet to be decided, but the outline application says the development would include a range of houses between two and five bedrooms, including both semi-detached and larger detached properties and 13 affordable homes.

All the houses on the site would be two-storey and “traditional in style and form” with “a rural edge and suburban character feel”.

Access would be created by extending the existing road through Castlefields and onto the B6302, which runs through the village, with measures in place to protect nearby woodland from the impact of development.

The meeting is due to take place in Dreadnought workingmen’s club, in Durham Road, Esh Winning, on Wednesday, October 18 from 7pm.